Saturday, July 22, 2006


A Modest Abortion Proposal (Without the Swiftian Satire)

The ever insane Unreliapundit continues to provide me with abundant blog-worthy material. One of his latest ideas is this gem about abortion:

"Embryo adoption is the solution - for pregnant women who don't want to go to term. Instead of aborting, they should give up their embryo for future adoption."

"Each side in the abortion debate - instead of financing political brawls - should finance medical research to make this a reality, and charities to make it a viable alternative for all women who have unwanted pregnancies."

"We could shut down EVERY ABORTION CLINIC, and re-open them as embryo extraction, freezing and adoption centers."

What's missing from this grand plan, besides the current funding and scientific knowledge that he notes as small problems? How about 400,000 wombs for the current embryos in storage, not to mention the additional ones for every potential abortion. The number of times this has been done through the Snowflake program is 81 so far over 7-10 years. That's not even keeping pace with a small fraction of the new demand.

Should I even mention that many women won't know that they're pregnant in time to make this work or that people should be able to determine how their genetic material is used. Nah, that'd be overkill...

you write:

"many women won't know that they're pregnant in time to make this work "

we could change that. and save lives.
instead of a morning after poill we could develop a week(s) after extraction.

it's possible.

if life is sacred we should try to do this instead of accepting abortion as a means of birth control.

you wrote:

"missing from this grand plan, besides the current funding and scientific knowledge"

both could change. as i suggested: instead of fundiong the idiotic politcal charade, both sides shouold fund this idea - and adotpion.

that is... if you think life is sacred.

but if you think humans are just a b unch of cytoplasm... then by al means ABORT ABORT ABORT!

frankly, it's a silly issue for conservatives like me to get into, after all: you lefties are the ones having MOST of the abortions and it's making you disappear over time: and that's a good side-effect of a horrid inhumane practice.

the roe effect. google it.
if i recall correctly (highschool was a long time ago) swift satirically suggested eating the irish babies wouold be a cure for the famine.

his horrific suggestion exposed the inhumanity of the brits handling of the famine.

my suggestion is not satire.
and it would save lives.

your poopooing it exposes your inhumanity.

the fetus is not the parents; it is another whole human being.


all other demarcations are literally arbtirary.

the fetus is a human.
it is not a pineapple, a poodle, or a poinsettia.

just because a pregnant woman doesn;t want to go to term, doesn;t mean that this INDIVIDUAL should DIE.

infantcide. "fetucide." call it what you want.

there are altenatives. we shoukld work together to discover more alternatives.

only people like you - who think abortion is perfectly okay, not murder - are opposed to any restrictions on abortion on demand, and to investiating other ways of remedying unwanted pregnancies.

that you ridicule it says a lot about you: ypou are a shlallow callous inhumane person.

typcial leftist: you want to "save humantiy" from boogeymen like neocons and SUV-drivers and "big oil", but you care not a whit for a defensless fetus.

lenin and stalin and mao and hitler and pol pot - ALL socialists - ALL a had similar approach.

they all believed that when they murdered MILIONS it was for the good of mankind.

when you disreard the sanctitiy of life of the least among us, you cross the line.
Some Thoughts on the Adoption Option

In discussions of abortion, the subject of adoption as an alternative to abortion comes up frequently. This is indeed a possible alternative. But is it realistic to propose that all unwanted babies can be put up for adoption? The following thoughts can help you decide.

First, you must consider the number of abortions. More than a million abortions are performed yearly in the U.S. For example, in 1997—the last year in which data from all 50 states was collected by the CDC—1.186 million abortions were performed. (Starting in 1998, the CDC began collecting data from only 46 states, for reasons unknown to me; click here for the CDC website). This means that approximately 3250 abortions per day were performed in 1997. In 1999, the CDC estimated that 20% of all pregnancies were ended through abortion.

One question to ask is whether there would be enough adoptive families available to care for unwanted children if adoption were to replace abortion as the option of choice. Data on adoptions is pretty sketchy, but the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (associated with the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services) reports that in the 1990s there was an average of 120,000 adoptions a year (click here for their website)—barely over 10% of the number of abortions per year. Of these adoptions, moreover, over 40% are “kinship adoptions” involving stepparents and other relatives, e.g. grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. (In 1992, for instance, the figure for kinship adoptions was 42%; I don’t know of any reason to suppose other years were different.) This means that in the 1990s there were just 72,000 adoptions per year of non-kin babies.

Perhaps, though, these numbers are low because there are more people seeking adoption than there are babies to adopt. Haven’t we all heard about long lines of people waiting to adopt a child, and even going overseas to find them? If so, then might there be enough adoptive parents to handle the increase in unwanted children if abortion weren’t used? To answer this we would need to know how many adoption seekers there are. As reported by the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth found that 500,000 women were currently seeking to adopt a child, though of these only 232,000 were taking concrete steps toward adoption, and only 100,000 had actually applied to adopt a child. I don’t know how long these women had been trying to adopt. That is to say, if all 500,000 of these women were to succeed in adopting a child this year, I don’t know whether there would be 500,000 new women wanting to adopt the following year. Perhaps the most helpful statistic is from the 1988 National Survey of Family Growth, which estimated that there are 3.3 adoption seekers for every actual adoption. Combining this with the 120,000 adoptions a year statistic from above makes for just under 400,000 adoption seekers a year.

So suppose abortion were to be made illegal (except, say, in cases of rape and danger to mother’s health—a very small fraction of yearly abortions). Would the “supply” of unwanted babies outstrip the “demand” of adoptive parents? (I hate to use those terms, but they’re the easiest way to get a handle on the issue.) I don’t know the answer. The lack of the abortion option might inspire some people to be more careful with contraceptives, or have less sex in the first place. Plus it is likely that many women who would otherwise have aborted would end up choosing to keep their babies. These effects mean that one cannot simply say “1.2 million abortions a year, therefore 1.2 million babies put up for adoption a year if abortion is made illegal.” (There is also the fact that some women would procure illegal abortions or travel to other countries to get them. This would be only cold-comfort to abortion opponents, however, and thus they will not want to place great emphasis on these factors.)

Still, even taking account of these effects, the supply of unwanted babies would surely increase dramatically if abortion were made illegal. Just to make things concrete, suppose that increased abstinence and increased care with contraceptives led to 20% fewer unwanted pregnancies a year, and that of the unwanted pregnancies that still arise, fully 1/3 of the pregnant women decide to keep their babies. Starting from the current baseline of 1.2 million abortions a year, these changes would still mean an increase of 640,000 babies put up for adoption per year, in addition to the 120,000 that are already put up per year. Would there be enough demand to handle 760,000 unwanted babies a year—over 6 times more than there are now? If we rely on the (somewhat optimistic, I think) figure from above positing 400,000 adoption seekers a year, that still leaves 360,000 babies—almost half—left over per year.

Problems remain even on the more optimistic assumptions that, say, increased abstinence and increased care with contraceptives leads to 50% fewer unwanted pregnancies a year, and that of the unwanted pregnancies that arise, fully 1/2 of the pregnant women decide to keep their babies. This would still create an increase of 300,000 babies in addition to the 120,000 that are already put up for adoption each year. Again assuming 400,000 adoption seekers per year, this would leave 20,000 babies per year unwanted and unadopted.

This might not be the end of the story, however. For I suppose we can imagine that many people who wouldn’t otherwise consider adoption would begin to consider it once they, say, saw TV footage of orphanages filling up. The key question is whether this increase in demand for adoptive babies would match the supply. Again, I do not know; it might or might not. More likely, I think, is that we would never get to the orphanage stage. If there weren’t willing adoptive parents, my guess is most women would choose to keep their baby rather than give it to an orphanage. That is the good news, I suppose—namely, that replacing abortion with adoption probably (though not certainly) could be done without orphanages. But in a way it is not-so-good-news for abortion opponents. For recall that the whole point of mentioning the adoption option is usually to suggest that even absent an abortion option, no one needs to raise an unwanted child; one need instead only to give it to adoptive parents and be (more or less) confident it will be loved. This would not be true, however, if in a post-abortion world there are not enough adoptive parents to go around. Choosing between keeping the baby or sending it to an orphanage would be in the eyes of most mothers no choice at all. For many people, then—namely, those whose babies the adoption “market” judges to be less desirable than others—the “adoption option” would be no real option. In short, even if orphanages would not abound absent abortion, our evaluation of the “adoption option” should still be influenced by whether there are likely to be enough adoptive parents to match the number of mothers who would prefer that someone else raise their babies. I’ll let you be the judge of how likely this is.

On a different note, I should point out that even if it is unlikely that there would be enough adoptive parents, this does not by itself settle the matter of the moral permissibility of abortion. Abortion opponents after all can still argue that even if many mothers feel forced to keep their child due to a shortage of adoptive parents, it is still likely that many, many babies who begin life unloved will eventually come to be loved by their mothers (and fathers). True, there will be some mothers and fathers whose hearts will never come around, who will always resent the sacrifices they had to make for their children. But abortion opponents can still argue that even if a pregnant woman and her sexual partner could somehow know they would never come to love their child, this still does not justify ending its life in the womb.

Moreover, on the other, pro-choice side there are arguments I have not explored. Pro-choice supporters might for instance say that even if there were enough adoptive parents to absorb the increase in unwanted babies brought about by an absence of abortion, there still is reason to keep abortion legal. This is so because even if a woman is certain she cannot raise her baby and thus is certain she ought to give it up for adoption, it still must be very traumatic for her to carry her baby to term and go through with the process of giving it up. Hence pro-choice supporters might insist that we should force pregnant women into this traumatic situation only if there is very good reason to do so—say, only if abortion is grossly immoral. But they will insist (for reasons we will study) that abortion isn’t grossly immoral, and so there is no need to force pregnant women to go through such trauma.

Hence there is much more to be said on either side. By way of closing, let me say the following. The point of this discussion is not to argue for or against one side of the abortion issue. Rather, it is just to argue that credible appeals to the “adoption option” as a solution to every unwanted pregnancy cannot be one-sentence long. There are tough questions that turn on various empirical predictions about unclear matters, and whatever answers are given to these questions must be defended. This is not to say no such defense is possible, only that one is necessary.
-- Prof. Duncan
if we can (a)

reduce conception rates (by getting more birth control and more abstinance)

and if we (b)

increase the number of unwanted fetuses who are brought to term and then put up for adoption,

and if we can (c) extract unwanted embryos for later re-implanatation (into the actual mother - later when she WANTS to have a baby, or an adotpive mother)

THEN... we wil have saved a lot of lives and prevented a lot of murders.

it seems to me that extraction and re-implantation should become a part of the equation.

especially for working women -whio may not want the baby when they are 25 and starting out in a career, but then may want it when they are 40.

the baby they conceive when they6 are 25 ill liely be healthier.

it's a younger egg.

i see no reason this idea of mine - of expanding the snowflakes type adoption - shgould be ridicued.

BTW: according to lefty eleanor clift, there were 128 adoption through snowflakes, not just 87.

we should spend money to see if we cant expand this snowflake thing - and more on ADULT stem cells.

we shouldn't use embryos - who are after all our brothers and sisters - for spare parts.
"frankly, it's a silly issue for conservatives like me to get into, after all: you lefties are the ones having MOST of the abortions and it's making you disappear over time: and that's a good side-effect of a horrid inhumane practice.
We're not worried, once cloning gets perfected, the number of cloned homosexuals will go through the roof, and they’ll all be on our side :-)

In response to "what's missing from this grand plan, besides the current funding and scientific knowledge" you simply assert that "both could change." Yes, and monkeys could fly out of your butt. Seems unlikely, though. A huge new social program to save embryonic tissue? I confidently predict weak congressional support from both sides of the aisle.

"that is... if you think life is sacred."
You mean, if I think human embryos are sacred. One thing that in-vitro fertilization and fertility clinics have shown is that embryos are much like a single sperm and egg separately. There is the potential for human life there. The majority of Americans accept this to be true, and that is why there is no public outcry when a fertility clinic flushes 1,000 unused embryos. As someone asked, if you were in a lab and a fire broke out, and you could save newborn baby or a petri dish with 500 embryos, which one would you choose? Perhaps you'd like to consider that question. If the answer is the baby, then each embryo is, at best, worth 1/500th of a baby. Most people would probably save a newborn kitten rather than the petri dish with the 500 embryos.

"my suggestion is not satire."
No, that's why it (and you) are so laughable. I know that you're totally serious. Swift was a literary genius. You're a complete idiot. That is a fairly significant difference.

"all other demarcations are literally arbtirary."
One thing we're good at in this country is setting arbitrary limits. We set speed limits. We set drinking, smoking, and voting ages. We set maximum and minimum penalties for crimes. This is no different. The current laws allow pregnancies to be terminated up to a certain point and not thereafter. “Non-arbitrary” in no way implies “best” or “optimal”. The only non-arbitrary speed limits would be 0 or infinity.

Some Thoughts on the Adoption Option
There's a big difference between adoption and undergoing surgery to carry someone else's child for 9 months. Since you've apparently never met a woman, you wouldn't understand this concept. When I sent this to Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon, her response was, "A definite lack of understanding that women aren't incubators that you can easily move stuff in and out of." Well said, Amanda.

"BTW: according to lefty eleanor clift, there were 128 adoption through snowflakes, not just 87."
I believe the difference here is successfully completed (81) vs. total including planned & not yet delivered (128). My number is from the Bush administration. Argue it with them if you will. Anyway, let's use your number. You only have to find 399,872 more women who want to do this. You're 0.032% of the way there, just for the existing IVF embryos. This doesn't count the 1 million+ abortions per year you also propose to handle. BTW, Clift also says, "Sixty percent of Americans support this research (according to a recent Gallup review of polls on the subject), and when they see Bush holding up adoption as an alternative to scientific study, they know it’s a false choice. Most people understand intuitively that the overwhelming majority of embryos that are the byproduct of in vitro fertilization will not become babies, and real medical and scientific advances could be made if these embryos were available to scientists." Indeed, they do.

i see no reason this idea of mine - of expanding the snowflakes type adoption - shgould be ridicued.
The "vision thing" has been never your strong point. Of course you can't see why. You see so little. The obvious reason is that THERE AREN'T NEARLY ENOUGH WOMEN WHO WANT TO DO THIS, YOU SIMPLETON. That was my main reason for ridiculing the idea. It appears, on it's face, to be quite sufficient. Thanks for giving me another opportunity to ridicule it.
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?